Health. Electronic cigarette: beware of passive vaping

Increased risk of cancer and stroke in adults, increased frequency of nasopharyngitis and ear infections and greater risk of asthma attacks and respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis in children… harms of passive smoking are now well known.

What are those of passive vaping? While the e-cigarette is more and more used, it seems important to know more.

To date, few studies have reported this. That’s why a team from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles conducted the survey among 2,090 participants of the Southern California Children’s Health Study.

2 or 3 times more risk of respiratory disorders

Each year of the study, which lasted from 2014 to 2019, the researchers collected information on the respiratory health of the participants (bronchitis, cough, wheezing, congestion…) and their exposure to smoking as well as to e- cigarette, directly or passively. At the start of labour, they were all on average 17 years old.

During the study, the prevalence of passive vaping (with nicotine) increased from 12% in 2014 to 16% in 2019. At the same time, exposure to passive smoking decreased from 27% to 21% in the same years. However, the prevalence of wheezing and symptoms of bronchitis increased from 12% to 15% and 19.5% to 26% respectively. Same observation for shortness of breath.

After comparing all this data, the scientists found that participants exposed to passive vaping were twice as likely to experience wheezing, three times more bronchitis symptoms and twice as much shortness of breath than the others. And this even taking into account exposures to traditional tobacco and direct vaping.

“If a cause and effect can be demonstrated in future work, this could be a valid reason to ban the use of e-cigarettes in public spaces,” say the authors.

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